Niagara Historic Frontier
The Niagara Historic Frontier, stretching 50 km along both sides of the Niagara River from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie, is dotted with historic sites and cairns. This region was first the home of various Iroquoian and Algonquian peoples. The French arrived in the late 17th century, and tangible evidence remains at Fort Niagara (near Youngstown, NY), which surrendered to British and colonial forces in July 1759. During the American Revolution and the War of 1812, Fort Niagara was the scene of considerable military activity and was captured by British and Canadian forces on 19 December 1813 (see Capture of Fort Niagara).
On the west (Canadian) side of the river, across from Fort Niagara, stand Fort George, Fort Mississauga and Butler's Barracks, all under the auspices of Parks Canada. In 1796, the British relinquished Fort Niagara to the Americans by the terms of Jays's Treaty and built Fort George as its replacement. Fort George served as the headquarters of the Centre Division of the British army during the War of 1812, but its proximity to the American shore made it vulnerable to enemy cannon fire. It was destroyed by American cannon fire on 25 May 1813 and captured 2 days later. Fort Mississauga and Butler's Barracks were constructed in the last year of the war to replace it. A reconstructed Fort George is now a living history site. The tower and star-shaped earthworks of Fort Mississauga and 4 buildings of Butler's Barracks, built between 1817 and 1839, have survived and are preserved as national historic sites.
Battlefield sites such as Queenston Heights, Chippawa and Lundy's Lane commemorate the people and events of the War of 1812. As well, Fort Erie, built in 1764 and now administered by the Niagara Parks Commission, was an active site from the time of Pontiac to Confederation.